A crash involving six vehicles on Highway 99 in Fresno County has left one child dead and 10 people hospitalized, in what a CHP officer described as ‘absolute carnage.’  It appeared that the driver of the big rig pulling a trailer full of fruit did not notice when traffic stopped in front of him according to reports. The big rig slammed into five other vehicles and burst into flames. An eleven-year-old girl was killed among the 15 individuals that were in the 6 vehicles and 10 needed to be treated at Community Regional Medical Center for moderate to major injuries. An investigation was underway and the highway was closed down for a few hours near the construction area where the accident occurred.  Authorities say the big rig driver could be charged with gross vehicular manslaughter.

Driver fatigue.

Collisions between 18 wheelers and passenger vehicles are widespread.  In 2017, 4,657 fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred in the United States, yielding high levels of damage to property, physical injuries and fatalities.  It is difficult to pinpoint reasons for all truck accidents, although one government study revealed that driver fatigue played a large part in 31% of the cases where the driver died and was a factor in approximately 13% of large truck accidents each year in the United States.  Operating an oversized vehicle while fatigued is a deadly risk to all travelers and the reason that the federal laws outline “hours of service” for truck drivers.

Negligence and insurance.

The basis for most civil lawsuits is negligence, and compensation is estimated on the degree of fault exhibited by a driver who caused injury and property damage.  “Fault” is based on the level of negligence measured when an individual fails to exercise the degree of care expected of someone in a similar situation.  California is a “fault state” which means that the party found to be responsible for the accident will have to compensate the other party involved in the accident.  Individuals who are involved in an accident must file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Damages.

Damages covered include medical bills, lost wages, property damages and wrongful death claims.  Depending on the extent of damage to property, or injuries sustained by a person in an accident, the maximum insurance coverage benefit might not cover the whole recovery amount and legal action may be warranted.

Hire an attorney.

Contact an experienced truck accident attorney for a consultation, as they can research specific case facts and interpret the law to support an accident case’s best outcome toward compensation for damages and injuries caused by the truck accident. Determining the percentage of fault is a matter for those who have reviewed police reports, witness reports, car damages, roadway marks and other factors present at the time of the accident.

Sources:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/191544/fatal-large-truck-crashes-in-the-us/

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-of-service

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